Village packed for Sarah's celebration 

Friends, family members vow to keep her spirit alive

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BONNY MAKAREWICZWWW.BONMAKPHOTO.COM - Strength in a smileAn emotional Rory Bushfield draws strength from a photo of his wife Sarah Burke at her celebration of life on Tuesday.
  • Photo BY bonny makarewiczwww.bonmakphoto.com
  • Strength in a smileAn emotional Rory Bushfield draws strength from a photo of his wife Sarah Burke at her celebration of life on Tuesday.

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In the crowd, Sophie McGregor said she was lucky enough to have Burke as a coach at Momentum one summer. An aspiring freestyle skier, she will always remember that summer.

"She was so nice and bubbly and friendly and happy," said McGregor. "I was worried that I wouldn't be included because I was so much younger than the other girls in the group, and she always made sure that I was included."

The first time she tried a 360 spin over a table, Burke was there to encourage her and boost her confidence.

"She was a great person. I'm here to show her how much she meant to me and all the girls in skiing," said McGregor.

Pemberton's Yuki Tsubota, one of the top up and coming freestyle skiers in Canada, had a breakthrough season of her own this year and placed fifth in a World Cup slopestyle event. She also had Burke as a coach one summer, and credits her for blazing the trail for other women in the sport.

"It was the coolest thing in the world to ski with her," said Tsubota. "I definitely looked up to her. I wanted to ski with her, ski like her. She always skied like a guy, she was so strong. She made all of us better. She was an icon for all of us."

The celebration of Burke's life will go on in many ways. The AFP has renamed their overall champion trophies, to be presented in Whistler on April 22, the "Sarah Burke Award."

Momentum Ski Camps is offering a Sarah Burke Scholarship to a young female skier that best embodies Sarah's spirit, and will rename their weekly "Happy Camper Award" as the "Spirit of Sarah Award."

Other tributes are also being planned by Momentum and others.

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